Rapid transit only
way to halt Oahu’s
commuting trend


A Census Bureau analysis shows Hawaii leads the nation in carpooling, while the percentage of commuters driving alone is below average.

HOWEVER gladdening the news might be that Hawaii leads the nation in carpooling, the trend is going in the wrong direction. Fewer commuters are sharing rides and more are driving alone to and from work, both nationally and in the islands. While city and state transportation officials can take some pride in relatively favorable numbers that have resulted from promotion of carpooling and taking TheBus, rapid transit is the most logical way to reverse the trend.

Public transportation is most prevalent in cities with rapid transit, according to an analysis by the Census Bureau. Nearly one-third of the 6.4 million people nationwide who travel to work using public transportation live in New York City, according to the Census Bureau.

More than 55 percent of Big Apple workers take the bus or subway to and from work. Not far behind are Washington, D.C. (37 percent), Boston and San Francisco (31 percent each), all of which have rapid transit. The way to reverse Honolulu's movement toward gridlock should be obvious.

The Census Bureau found that 18 percent of Hawaii's workers carpool, far ahead of runner-up Alaska's 14 percent and nearly double the national average of 10 percent, based on surveys taken in 2002. However, carpoolers in Hawaii declined from 19 percent in 2000 and 20.5 percent in 1990.

Meanwhile, solo drivers in the islands rose from 60.5 percent of commuters in 1990 to 63.9 percent in 2000 and 66 percent in 2002. That still is second lowest in the nation and significantly below a national average that has hovered around 75 percent.

Commuters taking public transportation stayed at about 6 percent in Hawaii from 2000 to 2002, a percentage point above the national average but down from 7.4 percent in 1990. Ten percent of Oahu workers take TheBus, but the state average is lowered by the lack of public buses on neighbor islands. A small number walk to their workplaces or work at home. Telecommuting has yet to take hold.

Cheryl Soon, director of the city Department of Transportation Services, has pointed out that the increased commuting by car in the 1990s coincided with the development of Kapolei. That put Oahu on a national path of people who work in the urban core buying new homes in the suburbs, more than a short bus ride from their jobs. As more jobs are created in the Kapolei area, that trend could reverse or at least taper off.


Team names span
colors of a rainbow


In a UH Foundation poll, 55 percent of those surveyed prefer "Rainbow Warriors" to just plain "Warriors."

IT APPEARS "Warriors" hasn't quite conquered the state. At least 55 percent of people polled by the University of Hawaii Foundation prefer to precede the macho nickname adopted by the football team with the original "Rainbows" designation.

Four years after "Warriors" was chosen -- at coach June Jones' urging -- to project a more masculine image, only 30 percent of those polled like the stand-alone Warriors, reports the Star-Bulletin's Kalani Simpson. Details of the survey, part of a larger poll conducted last year to prepare for the UH centennial in 2007, won't be released until April, so reasons for the preferences weren't available.

It may be that people in Hawaii tend to resist change, or that Warriors, sans Rainbow, refers solely to the football team. Or it may be the combination of nicknames -- with and without Warrior -- that shifts from sport to sport is confusing.

The men's basketball team uses the combo, Rainbow Warrior, as does the men's volleyball and baseball team, although the baseball crew is more often referred to as the "Baseball 'Bows." Meanwhile, women's basketball and volleyball teams are called Rainbow Wahine. We will assume that the "wahine" tag isn't meant to suggest that females aren't warrior-like, but to specify team gender.

The preference also may reflect the cheers fans have come to favor during the years, such as "Let's Go, Bows" or the gospel call-and-recall tradition of one group chanting "Rain" while another answers with "Bows."

Whatever the case, it is clear that people here have strong opinions about team nicknames and that Rainbows, which speaks to Manoa's frequent meteorological displays, is held dear and should not shift with the changing weather.



Oahu Publications, Inc. publishes the Honolulu Star-Bulletin, MidWeek and military newspapers

David Black, Dan Case, Larry Johnson,
Duane Kurisu, Warren Luke, Colbert
Matsumoto, Jeffrey Watanabe,
Frank Teskey, Publisher

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